The world around us is constantly changing with the ever-increasing availability of software technology and apps to manage business workflow. While the general feeling is that embracing technology will help one get ahead, many struggle to understand the added benefit it brings – especially those who have managed successful businesses for decades with their own internal ‘paper’ processes.
According to the experts at Capterra, a company that works with thousands of software vendors to create ratings, reviews and buying guides, 65 percent of field service companies today use software to manage workflow. Implementing software systems is necessary to gain a competitive edge in the market today, and technology for business will only continue getting better!
WHAT IS WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE?
Workflow management software is a system designed to pull nearly every aspect of your business workflow into a simple, automated process to increase efficiency. Many workflow management software systems include a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to manage sales and marketing processes, a job management system to track production workflows from start to finish (including estimation tools, work order systems, permanent note records, milestone date tracking, etc.), scheduling and dispatch systems, file storage, equipment tracking, critical integrations with accounting, and third party integrations to help with other data.
These systems are designed specifically to dramatically enhance the productivity of business workflow by bringing together various benefits that overcome common pain points experienced by a company.
According to a survey by software company ClientRunner, restoration professionals call these the top five most prominent benefits on workflow management software:
1. MOBILE ACCESS
Looking back at research done by Capterra, 68 percent of field service companies have limited or no mobile functionality. Their ability to work and communicate in the field is severely inhibited. Over time, these companies will fall further and further behind the industry leaders.
Fifty-six percent of field service companies say investing in mobile technology is critical for improving performance. As one of the most notable features, workflow management software is most often web-based today, meaning that employees have easy access to job data anywhere, anytime on any device connected to the internet. Many software solutions also have an app for offline workflow (for areas with limited or no internet connection). Having access to all job files, contact information, note records, and more at your fingertips is incredibly efficient. Plus, the information is accessible to multiple employees simultaneously, meaning no one is left standing around waiting.
2. REVENUE AND REPORTING
One common challenge for many businesses is the ability to forecast revenue or complete projects on budget. Reacting to income reports on a weekly or monthly basis typically results in sunken profit margins and decreased revenue that may have been avoided by addressing production concerns early in a project.
Workflow management software delivers powerful tools for business owners to evaluate jobs and associated costs daily. Not only are you provided up to date information daily, you can also address any concerns early to quickly compensate and improve margins.
Full reporting tools and dashboards allow you to view snapshots across your entire organization, as well as drill down into fine details of marketing activities and lead flow, production estimates and cycle times, out-of-pocket expenses across your organization (exposure), and more (the variety of reports will vary between software offerings). Some software solutions also provide corporate-level reporting and management tools for larger organizations. Owners make more educated business decisions when their finger is on the pulse of financial forecasts and reporting, and workflow management software makes the decisions easier.
3. COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS
The software marketplace today has evolved dramatically over the past decade; most workflow management software companies offer month-to-month payment options. It’s not uncommon to pay a one-time activation fee involved in a new account that covers the cost of the account, setup expenses and training. However, be wary of any additional fees on an ongoing basis apart from the monthly subscription.
With full implementation, nearly any system available can save a company tens of thousands of dollars.
4. EASE OF USE
Unfortunately, not all software can claim the benefit of ease of use. Some software packages are easier to use and promise quick adoption, while others are more complex and require more training. Seventy-four percent of field service companies rate ‘ease of use’ as the most important reason for choosing software. Garbage in, garbage out; if a system is not used, it won’t matter how good the system is. Finding a system that is easy enough for all employees to use, regardless of their experience with technology, is critical for successful adoption.
5. 3rd-Party Integrations
Software integrations are very common today, and most workflow management software systems take full advantage of integrated solutions.
Software integrations connect two or more systems and allow seamless data transfer or updates such as job or contact records, pictures, documents, notes, etc. These integrations are designed to ensure accuracy and to eliminate or greatly reduce double entry.
The implementation of workflow management software is an inexpensive way to organize all aspects of your workflow quickly, powerfully and efficiently. Software benefits companies of all sizes by bringing more jobs, increased revenue, automated processes, more organized employees, robust reporting, and more.
While there are several workflow management software systems available today, they often vary by feature sets, pricing, user counts, etc. When you’re ready to choose a software solution for your company, be sure to consider your needs, implementation costs, and even the popularity of certain software among fellow restoration companies.
If you currently don’t use software or if your current system is not meeting your needs, consider some of the workflow management solutions within the industry to find ways to dramatically improve your company. Many systems offer demos or even free trials to measure ‘fit’.
Don’t wait to explore your options – this time next year you will wish you had taken full advantage today!